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Clinton BeckfordSigning the Scarborough Charter is an important step for the University of Windsor, says Clinton Beckford, acting vice-president of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

University signs on to plan to fight structural racism

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, the University of Windsor was one of more than 40 universities and colleges from across Canada to sign the Scarborough Charter — a national plan of action to fight structural racism.

The document is considered an important step in addressing equity and inclusion in Canadian post-secondary education.

“The signing of the Scarborough Charter is a really, really important step for the University of Windsor. I think we know the problems our society has had with anti-Black racism,” says Clinton Beckford, acting vice-president of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

“The Scarborough Charter has asked universities to commit to combating anti-Black racism, and also ensuring Black inclusion on their campuses. In terms of our own efforts as a university, we’ve been working hard the past couple of years to really transform our culture, and so I think this is a good moment for us and I’m very, very happy that the University has decided to be a signatory to the charter.”

Wisdom Tettey, University of Toronto vice-president and principal of U of T Scarborough, says the charter is the result of a year-long collaborative process that started during the first National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities held in October 2020. The two-day national forum focused on anti-Black racism and Black inclusion in Canadian higher education.

“We are signing the Scarborough Charter so we can hold ourselves accountable to combating anti-Black racism and building more equitable systems,” Dr. Tettey said.

The charter identifies key barriers to Black inclusion and approaches to identifying and responding to them. It also contains concrete actions and accountability mechanisms for institutions to deliver on their promise to make structural and systemic change.

He said the partner institutions wanted those mechanisms built into the charter as a way to maintain accountability, an important step in moving beyond rhetoric to take meaningful action.